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  • A first-season episode of the reimagined Hawaii Five-O was centered around a tsunami. Guess what happened on March 11, 2011?
    • History Channel's Underwater Universe has been preceded by a sympathy message and filmed-prior-to-3/11/11 disclaimer ever since the quake. This is particularly relevant for the episode featuring a previous tsunami in Samoa.
  • The SeaQuest DSV episode "The Regulator" contains the following dialogue:

 Crocker: Not dead either.

Bridger: Might as well be. A genius who's every effort failed. And then he fakes a suicide to escape the ridicule of his peers.

Lucas: I can sympathize with that.

    • Pretty depressing considering Jonathan Brandis (who played Lucas) committed suicide a few years ago...
  • The ICarly special, iPsycho, shows a depressed Gibby saying that he has nothing better to do than to watch reruns. This episode aired the same week Gary Coleman passed away. Considering the "Awww" that came from the canned laughter, it may be possible that they added it at the last minute to pay tribute to him.
  • Perhaps the most eerie example was the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen, in which The Government nearly succeeds in crashing an airliner into the World Trade Center and thereby creating a new era of conflict. It aired in March 2001. Yikes.
  • The BBC children's drama Grange Hill had a nasty and quite personal example of this back in 2000. The character of Judi Jeffreys was (long story short) locked in a storage room that was on fire. She tried to escape by climbing out of the window onto a nearby fire escape, and ended up falling head first to her death. The actress who played her, Laura Sadler, met her own sad and untimely demise in the exact same way about 3 years later. (That is, she fell head first out of a building to her death; but while drunk and drugged up with vodka and cocaine, not while trying to escape a fire).
  • On Angel, Doyle's Heroic Sacrifice - just nine episodes into the series - became even more heartbreaking after Glenn Quinn, who played him, died three years later in 2002.
    • In the very last episode "Not Fade Away," Lorne (the Host, a usually fun-loving karaoke-singing demon) has a melancholic plotline in which he eventually shoots Lindsey dead before resigning from Angel's crew. Afterwards, as if talking to the audience, he says, "Good night, folks." Though not meant to be funny or light-hearted, it's become even sadder; a month after the May 2004 finale, Andy Hallett, Lorne's actor, got a dental infection that spread to his bloodstream. Five years after that, he died of the heart disease that resulted. In Hallett's memory, the writers of the comic-book sequel Angel: After the Fall retired the character of Lorne in 2010.
      • Related to this, there is a HORRIBLE moment on the commentary for "Not Fade Away" where the director mentions jokingly that Andy Hallet was suffering a tooth abcess while shooting and is practically propped up in the shot. This is the tooth abbcess that would lead to Andy Hallet's heart disease and death.
    • Thankfully, not related to a real-life tragedy, in the fourth season of Angel, Fred and Gunn are discussing whether or not it's good to feel. Fred says she'd rather feel the pain, she'd "take that over being a shell any day." In the fifth season, she dies and her body is used by the demon Illyria, who repeatedly refers to Fred as a shell.
    • There's also Angel lightheartedly reassuring Lorne that all families have problems, some more than others. Angel has no idea how many problems his family is going to have in the next two seasons.
    • In the season 1 episode "Expecting", upon seeing the magically pregnant Cordelia, Wes utters the phrase: "Mother of God". Well, yeah.
  • In Scrubs, Dr Cox reacted badly to the birth of Jack, feeling ignored and like he couldn't love him. He's critical of Jordan for paying too much attention to the baby. Harmless, until we find out three years later that Jordan had post-partum depression.
  • The ending of the Mork and Mindy episode "Mork Meets Robin Williams", where Mork gives his report to Orson about the downside of fame, which ends with a listing of celebrities who became victims of their own fame (mostly from drug overdoses). About a year later, Robin's friend, John Belushi, would die of a drug overdose.
    • It gets worse when you watch the Saturday Night Live short film "Don't Look Back in Anger". It stars John Belushi--aged with makeup--revealed as the last living member of the original "Not Ready for Prime Time Players." The harsh part? One of the first lines he speaks is "everybody thought I'd be the first to go", which was an ironic joke on his well-known hard partying lifestyle. He was, in fact, the first one to die.
    • It's also tough looking at that knowing that Robin himself had a pretty nasty cocaine habit at the time. He's said that John's death was one of the reasons he quit.
  • On the subject of Power Rangers and Super Sentai...
    • That bit near the end of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy where Trakeena, having recently gone off the deep end due to an accidental Biological Mashup with Deviot, turns her Mooks into suicide bombers and sends them out to do as much senseless damage as possible. It was a morally tasteless moment then, with one of her closest generals expressing horror at her tactics. But now...
    • The 1984 Super Sentai show Choudenshi Bioman was the first installment in the franchise to feature a female Yellow Ranger (the original Yellow Four). However, the actress playing her (Yuki Yajima) had to leave the series, so her character was killed off early in the series in what was also one of the few instances in the franchise where a core member of the team was killed off. While only one hero in Power Rangers was killed off within the actual show, Thuy Trang (the actress who played the first Power Rangers Yellow Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) ended up dying in a car accident in real life. And that's before we make it a yellow trio by mentioning the real life Typecasting-induced suicide of Baku Hatakeyama, the actor who played the first Sentai Yellow Ranger in Himitsu Sentai Goranger.
      • And when Hatakeyama took a break from the show, his character was replaced with a Suspiciously Similar Substitute, who was also killed off so Hatakeyama's character could return.
      • Power Rangers has now suffered another real life Ranger death. Peta Rutter, who played Udonna, the White Ranger in Power Rangers Mystic Force. While Udonna was still alive at the end of the season, ironically, her Mahou Sentai Magiranger counterpart was killed off at the start of the series. Also, while Mystic Force was in production, Machiko Soga (Rita Repulsa from MMPR) died, so footage of her from Magiranger as another character, which would normally have been skipped over, was used in tribute in the finale, and said to be a reformed Rita.
    • The page picture as of November 9th, 2011 comes from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger. It is a vision of a Bad Future, of what would happen if the Zyurangers failed to fully unite as a team. It was distressing enough back then, but after the earthquake in March 2011 that devastated Tokyo it's even worse.
  • The Granada Sherlock Holmes episode "The Dying Detective" takes on a whole new significance when you know that Jeremy Brett, who played Holmes, died the year after it was filmed.
  • For Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the speech to Cordelia about wanting to live in the world for a moment, in spite of her duty, at the time? Sad. Given everything Cordelia goes through over the course of Angel for her duty? Oh dear God. * sobs*
    • An in-universe example, the ending of the episode "Lie To Me". Depressing and sad when aired, but the characters hadn't suffered great tragedy or major deaths yet. By the time the show is over that ending is second only to "The Body" in tear factor.
    • The season 3 episode "Earshot" -- whose plot involved a school sniper -- was originally withheld from airing in the U.S. because of the Columbine shootings in April 1999. The season finale, "Graduation Day, Part Two" was also postponed the following month for similar reasons. Both episodes eventually aired later that summer, "Graduation Day, Part Two" in July and "Earshot" in September.
  • Early in 24's third season, Jack is occasionally seen wrapping a belt around his arm in preparation for shooting up heroin. This becomes even more horrifying in the season finale, when he's wrapping it around Chase's arm in order to cut his hand off.
    • In the same season, after Tony learns that Michelle is trapped inside a hotel whose inhabitants are infected with the Cordilla Virus, Ryan Chappelle tells him that the best way to focus is to assume the worst and think about getting revenge. In season 7, Tony's desire for revenge for Michelle's death at the start of the fifth season leads him to attempt to curry favor with the main antagonists so that he can meet up with and kill the man responsible, even if thousands of innocent civilians die in the process.
  • The diffusion of the first episode of Fringe, which contains a plane accident, in France coincided with the Rio-Paris plane crash...The episode was broadcast one week later instead.
  • The Doctor Who serial "The Tenth Planet", first shown in 1966, has a spacecraft lost with all hands in 1986.
    • The Doctor's "One day, I shall come back" speech from The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Unless you count the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, he doesn't come back.
    • In-universe example: the final scene of "Blink", which implied that every statue could be a Weeping Angel, was already horrific enough." "The Time of Angels" turned that concept into reality. Have sweet dreams.
      • Another one from "Blink"/"The Time of Angels": Sally gave the Doctor a photo of an angel. Image of an Angel, anyone?
    • Another one: the Happiness in Slavery thing the Ood from "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" have going is cringe-inducing enough. Then a couple seasons later we find out it's because they've been lobotomized.
    • The Doctor's worst fear (introduced in Inferno and reiterated in The Mind of Evil) is that of a burning planet. Guess what he had no choice but to do to Gallifrey in the Time War.
    • The episode "Forest of the Dead" ends with River Song making a Heroic Sacrifice. At the time, it's pretty sad, but we don't really feel much connection to her since she'd only just been introduced. But as the show continues, we find out more about her and her relationship with the Doctor, and that first episode becomes simply heartbreaking to watch...especially once you realise the Doctor himself should have mourned her death far more than he did, it was just unlucky chance that he didn't know her when she died.
      • And remember, the Doctor KNOWS River's fate. He knows the date and destiny of the daughter of Amy and Rory Pond. As uplifting a note as the episode "A Good Man Goes To War" ends on, remembering that the Doctor already knows when it is that she dies, and that she dies for him, can be quite the Fridge Horror moment - the daughter of the companions that he has come to look at as his family died for him before he knew who she was or even met her parents.
        • And it was probably intentional
    • The Seventh Doctor, distraught over the apparent death of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, tells him "You should have died in bed!" Fast forward to "The Wedding of River Song"...
    • Ten's heartwarming "Goodbye - my Sarah Jane!!" from "School Reunion" becomes absolutely heartbreaking after Elisabeth Sladen's untimely death. Just...ouch. Ouch.
    • The conclusion of The War Games where the Doctor is forced to "change his appearance" before doing into exile is now seen as being forced to use one of his 12 regenerations. Ergo, the modern viewer would see this as the Doctor being executed after a fashion by shortening his lifespan.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures story Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith is about Sarah Jane struggling with senility brought on by a terminal illness. In fact, the illness was fabricated by Sarah Jane's replacement, and once she's defeated, Sarah Jane instantly recovers.) And to think Elisabeth Sladen must have known she was ill when she filmed them.
  • At the end of season two of Dexter, Dexter has trapped James Doakes in a cage inside a remote cabin in the Everglades after he found out Dexter was a serial killer. Trying to convince his captor to turn himself in, Doakes describes Dexter's urge to kill as being "like a cancer - and in case you haven't noticed, it's spreading". Michael C. Hall contracted Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2010, before recovering later that year.
  • In Sanford and Son, Fred Sanford had a Running Gag where he would fake a heart attack whenever something shocked or upset him. In real life, Redd Foxx died of a heart attack...
    • ...during a rehearsal on the set of his later show, The Royal Family. At first some cast and crew members thought he was just reprising his "I'm coming, Elizabeth" gag.
    • To top it all off, the working title for The Royal Family? Chest Pains.
  • Parodied in The Whitest Kids U' Know when a hunter is making a tasteless joke about hunting accidents at the expense of a friend -- the friend died in a hunting accident just the other day. He insists that this makes it exceptionally funny, while the other members of the hunting party are more reluctant to laugh.
  • The Touched By an Angel story "Netherlands", which aired in May of 2001. The plot has heroine Monica witnessing a building being destroyed by a bomb. Many are killed, and though she's an angel she has a crisis of faith that culminates in her being tempted to forsake God by Satan himself. (CBS pulled a scheduled repeat in the wake of 9/11.)
  • Its longevity has made Law and Order and its numerous versions teem with examples of this:
    • In a season 16 episode of Law and Order, after a hit list is discovered with Jack's name on it, Alexandra Borgia advises him to hand the case off to someone else because it might save his life. Five months later she's tortured and killed because of a case she's working on. What's more, Arthur Branch tells Jack she would have fought him tooth and nail if he'd tried to take her off the case.
      • Another example would be an early episode called "Second Opinion", where the victim was killed by a quack remedy for her cancer, and Lt. Van Buren and Detective Briscoe are discussing the woman's condition. Briscoe's actor, Jerry Orbach, died of cancer, and a final season story arc involved Van Buren receiving a scare about possible cancer.
    • In an April 2009 episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent entitled "Rock Star", a musician falls to his death in an elevator shaft in a building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In November of that same year, Jerry Fuchs, the drummer for various indie rock bands such as !!! and The Juan Maclean, died pretty much the same way in a similar building in the same neighborhood. However, unlike in the episode, where the musician was pushed down the shaft, Fuchs actually fell while trying to jump from a stalled elevator to the next floor. Still pretty damn eerie.
    • Law and Order SVU : Life Imitates Art, although at least one version might have been deliberate: An episode about a pedophile coach aired a few weeks before the Penn State scandal broke and an episode about a couple faking a kidnapping to cover up the accidental death of their baby may have caused a real-life woman to try and do the same thing maybe she missed the end where they couple was caught. Fortunately the next episode (about a pair of killers who kill their classmate and almost succeed in pinning it on a feeble-minded neighbor) hasn't happened... as far as we know...
    • Law and Order UK: An episode in which the detectives are investigating the shooting death of an officer has DS Matt Devlin musing to partner Ronnie Brooks that it must be tough to lose a partner, then immediately cringing as he remembers that Ronnie has lost a partner to violence. Another episode that also involved the shooting death of an officer had Ronnie stating, "God forbid Matty here got himself shot, I'd be out there straightaway trying to find who did it and string him up myself"
      • Approximately a year later, Matt was killed in a drive-by shooting
  • There were a lot of moments on the TV show Titus in which Titus's dad doubted that his son and Erin would be together forever, which Titus tried to prove wrong time and again. In reality, Christoper Titus and his wife Erin Carden (the inspiration for the character's girlfriend) divorced three years after the show was canceled (and, in Love Is Evol, Titus has nothing good to say about his ex-wife Erin, I mean, "Kate" and really lets it be known that she was a two-timing bitch who tried to murder him and crushed his self-esteem to the point where Titus wanted to kill himself and made him doubt his faith in God -- until God "told" Titus that he made the divorce happen so he could date a 20-something year old who had two college degrees, paid for her own breast implants {as opposed to Erin using Titus's money to surgically make herself over [or as Titus put it, "re-build this bitch from the ground-up"] just so she can have affairs behind his back}, and worked as a model).
  • The Mockumentary Oil Storm is about an oil shortage caused by a major hurricane making landfall near New Orleans in September 2005. It aired in June 2005.
  • "The Uncanny Valley" episode of Criminal Minds featured a disturbed unsub who was molested by their father, the head of the local sanitarium. Today I opened the paper and read this real-life occurrence, and now I'm not sure which came first since they only started investigating that guy in September. I suppose the one thing the real-life bastard has going for him is that it's not mentioned whether he used shock therapy to give his victims Laser-Guided Amnesia.
    • Shock Therapy is widely misrepresented in fiction and isn't nearly as horrible as portrayed.
    • In an in-universe example, a conversation between Hotch and Prentiss about the importance of family and how Hotch is trying his best for Hayley and Jack becomes heartbreaking after having watched season 5, in which Hayley is murdered.
  • A 1979 episode of Blakes Seven called "Shadow" has the gang of rebels trying to bribe a drug dealing mob to help them in their fight against the Federation, only to find out that despite their public anti-drug stance the Federation is the secret head of the mob. It seems that they want to control both sides of the law. Of course, a modern, enlightened democracy would never stoop to selling illegal drugs to their own people to further their political ends. Oh wait.
  • In the episode of Friends where Monica and Chandler went on their honeymoon, their entire storyline had to be re-written and re-shot at the last minute. The original storyline involved the two of them getting arrested by airport security because Chandler made a joke about a bomb. The re-shoot version of their storyline involved a sort of one-sided competition for free upgrades with another honeymooning couple, with several of the original gags recycled. The episode aired October 11, 2001.
    • Although the deleted scenes were eventually made available on Youtube.
  • In a season two episode of How I Met Your Mother, first aired in 2007, Marshall mentions that he's had a song from Dirty Dancing, starring Patrick Swayze, stuck in his head for the last couple of days. He looks upwards and says "Damn you, Swayze!", which is less funny since Swayze's death from pancreatic cancer.
  • An earthquake hits Washington DC in the pre-credits sequence of the Bones episode "The Bones on a Blue Line". It aired a month after a earthquake hit Chile, and Chilean fans weren't amused.
  • Taub and Kutner discuss suicide in the House episode "Painless". This is one of the things later latched on to fans as Foreshadowing towards the latter's suicide, which was specifically written to come completely out of nowhere.
    • Earlier, in "Mirror Mirror", Kutner and Amber are debating which of them the patient, who had Mirror Syndrome, it mimicking. When he starts developing a new symptom, Kutner says "he's mimicking whichever one of us is dying". Both doctors would be dead by the end of the next season.
    • A flippant line from House to Wilson early in season 5 sounds prescient as of Season 8 Episode 18: "Holding things in can give you cancer!"
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? the UK version. Regular on the show for seven years, Tony Slattery was told by Clive Anderson after one disappointing game: "No points to Tony, I don't think we'll have him on the show ever again." This was episode six of season seven. With the exception of the compilation episodes taken from previously recorded footage, this actually was Tony Slattery's last ever appearance on the show. Soon after leaving, he suffered a nervous breakdown, not leaving his house for six months.
  • During Conan O'Brien's last week as host of Late Night, he had a final interview with Matt Lauer. Lauer asked Conan if he wouldn't mind coming back to New York to visit in a year. Conan's response (in jest) was that he wouldn't be on television by next year. In mere months, he wasn't, though he would have a new show within a year.
    • Conan O'Brien, in the first few weeks of his run on The Tonight Show used his trademark self effacing humor to often mention that his show was going to be canceled. These early jokes weren't funny by January 2010.
    • In his second Emmy hosting gig, Conan opened the show with a song and dance lamenting the trouble NBC was experiencing. What was funny in 2006 became Harsher in Hindsight in 2010.
  • On an early Frasier episode, the Girl of the Week arrives on American Airlines Flight 11. It Gets Worse: David Angell, one of the show's executive producers, was on that exact flight on 9/11. Niles and Daphne's son is named for him.
  • In the Season 2 Pride episode of Queer as Folk, Vic tells Emmett that a mutual friend of theirs had just died from AIDS. When Emmett is shocked at the suddenness of it, Vic tells him, "Sometimes it happens very quickly. That can be a blessing." A few years later, Vic dies extremely suddenly due to side effects of his HIV medication.
  • In an episode of CSI, Hodges and Simms are at a sci-fi convention when a body is found. Essentially, a crime happened at a convention. The day after someone was stabbed near the eye with a pen at the San Diego Comic Convention 2010 (The event was on a Saturday), this episode reran on Spike TV. This trope couldn't help be feel like this was odd to have this running so soon after the guy was hurt.
    • The Tarantino-directed season 5 finale had the team desperately try to find their colleague Nick, who'd been buried alive and who began to suffer delusions from oxygen deprivation and being eaten by ants. They find the guy who did it... who then blows himself up with a bomb strapped to his waist rather than tell them where he is. The episode was put back from its original showing in the UK because of the London 7/7 bombings.
  • In the fourth episode of Gossip Girl, Blair's mother tells her not to have croissants like her friend Serena, and instead to have fat-free yoghurt. Then Blair says she lost two pounds and her mother says "And you look amazing" in a patronizing sort of way. Then, it's just showing she's a bad mother, who likes Serena better. Then six episodes later we find out Blair's bulimic, and that scene becomes much more sad.
  • Season 19, Episode 4 of Never Mind the Buzzcocks at one point has Simon Amstell saying to Amy Winehouse, "Am I going to just sit here while you drink yourself to death?" This was over two years before she tragically died from alcohol poisoning.
  • Watching a repeat of Sandra Bullock's Feb. 2010 post Oscar-nom appearance for The Blind Side on The Tonight Show is doubly harsh: her intro-music was "Jessie's Girl" (she's no longer Jessie's girl after she found out about his affair), and she teased David Letterman about whether he'd ever kissed a woman (he admitted to doing a bit more than that after being threatened with blackmail, although that could've happened before and my memory is faulty).
  • The Seven Days episode "Pinball Wizard" featured an aircraft being crashed into the The Pentagon during an attack, complete with faux footage of the building with one side blown in, and faux news coverage of the wreckage and mass casualties. It was filmed in 1999.
  • In a 2007 episode of Kitchen Nightmares, celebrity chef and famously insufferable loudmouth Gordon Ramsay told New Jersey restaurateur Joseph Cerniglia that his business was "about to swim down the Hudson." In 2010 Cerniglia's body was found -- in the Hudson -- in an apparent suicide.
  • In the Star Trek TOS episode "Assignment: Earth", Spock mentions that one of the events that occurred during the Enterprise's visit to Earth in 1968 was an assassination. The episode was first aired on March 29, 1968. Six days later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. Robert F. Kennedy was killed that year as well.
  • The Route 66 episode "I'm Here to Kill a King" has Tod and Linc encountering a would-be political assassin who looks just like Tod. The episode was originally scheduled to air on the night of November 29, 1963; after the real-life assassination of President John F Kennedy exactly one week earlier, CBS pulled the episode from its schedule, and it was not seen until the series went into syndication several years later.
  • Stephen Colbert's astronaut training clips are a bit less funny since the wife of the shuttle pilot who helped him was targeted for assassination -- she was shot in the head but survived; unfortunately the mentally unstable shooter killed six other people, including a federal judge and a little girl who was born on 9/11 who had just been elected class president.
  • The Hill Street Blues season one episode "Life, Death, Eternity, Etc." features the sudden death of a secondary character due to ill health, causing Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (perhaps the most beloved character in the series, played by Michael Conrad) to ponder the transient nature of life. Michael Conrad would die three years later at the age of 57 due to cancer, with Sgt. Esterhaus dying in a special episode timed to correspond with the actor's death.
  • The MASH episode "Blood Brothers" features Patrick Swayze as Pvt. Sturgis, a wounded soldier diagnosed with leukemia (which in the 1950s had a much higher mortality rate than it does now). Almost thirty years after the episode aired, Swayze himself died of cancer.
    • The same episode had this trope intentionally written-in. When Swayze's character learns he has leukemia, and Hawkeye urges him to go to Tokyo to begin experimental treatments, Swayze's character cynically predicts "they'll have a cure in twenty years!" The episode aired in the early 80s, more then twenty years after the Korean War ended. And still no cure.
  • Following a nasty contract dispute, Susan St. James was McLeaned from Mc Millan And Wife by having her character and infant son killed in an airplane crash. Nearly 30 years later, St. James' son was killed, and her husband and another son critically injured, in a plane crash.
  • Hearing Captain Phil say during the 6th season of Deadliest Catch that he hopes "my dumb ass will be around for a while" when talking about his kids is a bit of a stab in the heart considering what happened to him.
    • Pretty much anything that focused on Phil in Season 6, to deliberate effect. 'Catch' fans knew that Phil's death was going to be documented and thought the four months between his death and the showing would help steel themselves, but it still made it all the more unnerving when it happened on TV. One particular moment: In the episode "Valhalla", which documented the fleet's reactions to the death of Phil, Sig Hansen goes to meet Cornelia Marie relief captain Derek Ray in Saint Paul. While talking with Sig, Derek commented he could only take up so much of Phil's space in the wheelhouse so the only thing he removed was the ashtray. Sig joked that Phil would find that funny. Problem was, none of the fleet knew that Phil had passed yet, so Derek broke the news. It was awkward from that point on.
    • This year's After The Catch is/was in New Orleans, where that area's fishermen are experiencing some very bad times due to the Gulf Coast oil spill. This is addressed a few episodes later when the captains see the effects of the spill up close; having lived through the Exxon Valdez oil spill themselves the Gulf spill is especially disturbing. It's also noted that all the fishing-related activities they did have since been shut down indefinitely.
    • In the home video of a crew not associated with the show, one man jokingly said that his friends ought to be on Deadliest Catch. The video aired as part of a special episode after the ship sank with either one or no survivors.
  • Burn Notice: S1, Episode 9, "Wanted Man". The Libyan spy that Michael is cultivating comments, "The security forces of my country are not known for being gentle." This has been dramatically proven; as of the day of this edit, the 2011 Libyan Uprising riots are being suppressed--with gunship strafing.
  • The X-Files episode "Beyond The Sea" opens with Captain William Scully, Scully's father, dying of a massive coronary off screen. Fourteen years later Don S Davis who played Captain Scully would die of the exact same thing.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "2010", it was mentioned that General Hammond (Don S. Davis' character) had died of a massive heart attack in 2004. It turned out that only four years after this date, Davis did indeed die of a heart attack.
    • Also, In the Season 5 two-parter finale (the end of the first part, more specifically), when introduced to Hammond's temporary replacement, Weaver, Bra'tac asks if Hammond of Texas (his term of respect for the General) had fallen in battle. It becomes a lot more harsh when watching it after Davis' death.
  • The Golden Girls featured an episode in which the girls, in the end, made a pact to always take care of each other, even if it meant going to the same nursing homes. At which point, Rose, played by Betty White, asks the question "What happens when there's only one of us left?" Cue 2010, where White is the only member of the cast left alive.
    • To rub salt in on the wound, Estelle Getty, who played Sophia, the oldest character on the show, nonchalantly replies that she'll be able to take care of herself at that point. Getty would die first of the four, despite being younger than Co-Stars Betty White and Bea Arthur.
  • One episode of Two and A Half Men had this exchange:

 Berta: You ever gonna stop drinking?

Charlie: No, I'll just stop waking up.

    • Meant as a joke, but considering that Charlie died due to his hedonism as of season 9...
  • Tori Spelling's short-lived sitcom So NoTorious was a self-parodying look at her life as a struggling actress and daughter of Hollywood royalty. It featured caricatured versions of her parents: her mother as a glamorous yet passive-aggressive nutjob, and her father as...basically the speakerbox from Charlie's Angels. A year later, Aaron Spelling dies, and Candy Spelling basically disinherits Tori. Maybe she hit a nerve there...
  • The Daily Show: In one episode, Jon Stewart was commenting on the rising unemployment rates, the increasing deficit, and lack of solid political leadership with a very simple "We're doomed!". The day that episode aired? September 10th, 2001.
  • The Japanese game show DERO! had a round where a team of contestants is put inside a room a bit more than 2 meters tall, and have to solve a series of puzzles via Linked-List Clue Methodology involving various objects in the room, while water is pumped into the room, gradually making it harder to find and reach those objects. They win money if they successfully complete the challenge in time, but if the water level reaches a height of 2 meters first (leaving them with a couple inches of breathing room), the water stops, the game ends in failure, and the team gets nothing (besides wet) from the round. This game suddenly became considerably less fun and exciting a year later when the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster left a ton of houses in Sendai underwater and drowned many of their residents. It got so bad that the show was immediately pulled off the air with its remaining taped episodes never aired, including a two-hour special. The production team ended up Retooling the show into TORE!, a Spiritual Successor which premiered 4 months later.
  • The already unsettling Millennium episode "TEOTWAWKI" became even more disturbing to watch after a certain high school massacre.
  • On The Glee Project two contestants had to sing the song "Valerie" as covered by Amy Winehouse to avoid elimination. The judges made a couple goodhearted jokes at Ms. Winehouse's expense. Amy Winehouse died less than a week later and the episode did not air online until three days after her death.
  • The image of Kate in a body bag with a bullet hole in her forehead in Gibbs' dream in the first season finale of NCIS (written before anyone knew Sasha Alexander was leaving the show) was jarring when it first aired, but it was even more jarring when she died the exact same way in the finale of the following season.
  • In a later season episode of Boy Meets World, newly-married Cory and Topanga try to buy a starter home so they can leave their ramshackle apartment despite barely having any money. The realter draws up a special mortgage plan for them so they can buy the house but the plan requires signatures from the parents, and Mr. and Mrs. Matthews refuse to sign it because thy don't think Cory and Topanga will be able to make the payments. The moral of the episode is that you need to work to earn what you buy and not rely on others for help. This episode aired in 1999, many years before the late 2000s economic recession which was caused in part by this kind of financial behavior: young couples buying homes they couldn't afford through subprime mortgage payments.
  • The Glee episode "Duets" makes one feel for poor Quinn because of her parents, a father who wants only a perfect daughter and a mother who ignores any problems. After Home and Born This Way, you realize just how bad those traits were, as her mother had turned a eye as Quinn went on crazy diets (including starving herself to the point of passing out) and her father allowed his thirteen year old daughter to get a nose job
  • A short-lived USA Network reality show called Combat Missions pitted former soldiers, sailors, Marines, and cops against each other in various mock combat scenarios. One of the contestants was Scott Helvenston, a US Navy SEAL. Through the contacts he made on the show, he later joined Blackwater USA and was sent to Iraq. His convoy was ambushed in Fallujah, and his body along with his colleagues' were publicly desecrated, leading to the First Battle of Fallujah later that week.
  • The original TV version of Edge of Darkness features Bob Peck as the lead character, who through the course of events contracts and subsequently dies of radiation poisoning. Peck himself died of Cancer some years later, making the slow decline of his character due to radiation rather tragic. In addition to this, it's established his character's wife died of Cancer some years previous, making a number of scenes where he reflects on this downright uncomfortable now.
  • In Kamen Rider Den-O, Yuuto Sakurai/Kamen Rider Zeronos' Super Mode is powered by special cards that erase the memories of his younger self. While it was a fairly ominous idea then, it becomes more depressing knowing that Yuuto's actor, Yuichi Nakamura, has had his future in showbusiness erased since he was forced to retire due to chronic back pain.
  • There's a season 3 Highlander episode where Richie asks Duncan if they'll ever have to fight each other. Guess what happens in season 5, that leads to Richie's death?
  • In-universe example in The Drew Carey Show, a season 5 episode has a joke where Mimi's prepared a suitcase for Steve in case he ever cheats on her. Guess what he did a couple seasons later?
  • "The Siege of AR-558", an already very bleak and tragic episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, is turned into Shaggy Dog Story / Shoot the Shaggy Dog in a later episode when the system for which the protagonists fought so hard, and many Red Shirts lost their lives fighting, is effortlessly recaptured by the enemy thanks to a new superweapon.
  • Ray Combs, the host of the 1988 edition of Family Feud, was blamed for the low ratings the show was experiencing in the 1993-94 season, being replaced with original Family Feud host Richard Dawson the following season. His dismissal sent him into a downward spiral as he got divorced, injured in an auto accident, and his attempted comebacks with a talk show and the game show Family Challenge all failed, and he ultimately committed suicide in 1996. It didn't help that his last episode had one of the worst Fast Money rounds, with the first contestant getting only 77 points and the second getting none at all.
  • Previews for upcoming episodes of "19 Kids and Couting" featuring the Duggar family seem much Harsher in Hindsight when Michelle Duggar talks about the upcoming birth of her 20th child. The 20th Duggar child, Jubilee Shalom, was stillborn and died at 18 weeks. The 19th Duggar child, Josie Brooklyn, was born prematurely at around the same age.
  • The last episode of the third and last season of the Irish sitcom Father Ted was supposed to end with the airplane on which the main character was finally flying to America falling and, presumably, the character dying. As on the day after the last day of filming actor Dermot Morgan, who played Father Ted in the series, died of a heart attack, the ending was rewritten with Ted changing his mind at the last moment and deciding to remain in Ireland.
  • The opening credits to Saturday Night Live during Phil Hartman's time there include a clip of him sitting in a booth with a blonde woman... his wife, who was to end both their lives in a murder-suicide. Later when he returned to the show as guest host, he says in his monolouge that "Oh, boy, but I'll tell you, I'm a lucky man but I'd be nothing without my lovely wife, Brynn. Our anniversary's coming up and I want to buy her a diamond necklace, just to show her what's important to me: family, friends, good times..."
  • The theme tune to My Sister Sam contained the lines "Everything starts like a knock at the door, you don't know what it is but you know who it's for ..." Just over a year after the show left the air, main cast member Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered on her doorstep by a stalker.
  • Sesame Street has the story arc where Big Bird's nest is blown away in a hurricane, and everyone else trying to help him build a new one.
  • The West Wing season six episode "The Birnam Wood" sees Leo McGarry suffer a massive, near-fatal heart attack. Although not exactly pleasant viewing in the first place it becomes even more poignant due to John Spencer, the actor who played Leo, suffering a fatal heart attack just over a year after the episode aired, while The West Wing was still on air.
    • In "The Ticket," Leo offers to resign from the ticket and let Santos pick a better running mate. Santos tells him the only way he can get out of it is to have another heart attack.
  • In the series finale of Desperate Housewives, Karen McCluskey succumbs to cancer. What made it sadder was that Kathryn Joosten, the actress portraying her, died from the same disease twenty days after the episode premiere.
  • Assuming that given the nature of this trope, we have a tiny bit of leeway with spoilers here, it's worth noting that in Game of Thrones, there's the following Jaime Lannister quote: "Even if the boy lives, he'll be a cripple, a grotesque. Give me a good clean death any day." Oh, dear.
  • In the 80s sitcom Gimme a Break, Nell and Chief Kanisky have a heart-to-heart before he goes under the knife to give his brother his kidney, and the chief tells her to look after the kids if he doesn't survive the surgery. Nell says she knows nothing is going to happen to him. Heartwarming then, but come the beginning of season five? Chief's gone for real, due to the death of actor Dolph Sweet.
  • An early episode of Roseanne has Becky and her friend Dana getting piss drunk after experimenting with alcohol. Dan and Roseanne lay into her for such irresponsible behavior, causing Becky to gripe that they're treating her like she's suddenly a drunk. Come the spin-off series The Conners, Becky's taken to drinking to numb the pain of losing her husband Mark and being in a shitty financial situation, and the second episode of the show has her and Dan both realizing that she is, indeed, an alcoholic.
    • Another episode has Roseanne worrying about how Dan and the family would go on if she died. The first few episodes of The Conners answers that question: not great.
  • The Diff'rent Strokes two-parter "The Bicycle Man" pulled no punches with the subject of child molestation and could be quite difficult to watch on its own. It gets harder with the knowledge that Shavar Ross, who played Dudley, was actually molested in real life, and almost painful when it came out in 2010 that Todd Bridges (Willis) was sexually abused by a family friend when he was eleven years old.
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